After we left the Maslenitsa Festival and Sunday, March 3rd, we headed over the the Maltz Museum on Richmond Road in Beachwood in order to take part in a book launch event for Ari and Abigail’s Passport to Israel, a children’s book written by Ms. Dahlia Fisher, the Maltz Museum’s Director of External Relations, and illustrated by Ms. Fisher’s good friend Ms. Amy Jindra, art director for Lands’ End, inspired by the wish to make the Museum’s special exhibit, “Israel: Then and Now” more accessible to young children.
Ari and Abigail’s Passport to Israel follows a brother and sister from the United States on their first trip to Israel, which is, as is stated in the book, is “one of the most immigrant absorbing nations on Earth.” In an article that appeared in the Cleveland Jewish News, Ms. Fisher was quoted as saying, “using the concept of a story walk, we created panels from the pages of the book and set them on easels throughout the gallery. The story panels are paired with interactives like creating your own passport before going on an airplane or preparing a meal for everyone to share in a kibbutz or writing a wish to tuck into the cracks of the wall at the Kotel. While the book itself, doesn’t offer hands-on activities like the exhibit does, it tells a story featuring the same themes of the exhibit and we hope those themes are something families will want to shore with their children time and time again, long after the exhibit has moved on to other cities.”
On this day, Ms. Fisher and Ms. Jindra took the children present and their families on walking tour of the “Israel: Then and Now” exhibit mostly via the storywalk although they stopped along the way to share such items as a flag created in 1946 that was flown on a ship that brought refugees to Israel. They also pointed out recent photos of Ethiopian refugees so happy to be able to settle in a land where they will be safe.
From our perspective, the children seemed enthralled and there were, of course, refreshments and crafts that they could partake in like the creation of their own travel book.
In addition to Ms. Fisher and Ms. Jindra, we also got to meet Mr. Jared Bendis from ATBOSH Media, Ltd. which is publishing “Ari and Abigail’s Passport to Israel” who told us that in addition to the Maltz Museum, it can now be purchased online at the sites of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble and is also available as an ebook. The next step will availability in stores, and we wish everyone well in this venture because we believe that the book is an excellent learning tool and has value to adults as well as to children.
We, ourselves, liked it that the book touches on Israel’s immigrant experience and how, in present times, immigrants can receive help from an “absorption center” which enables them adjust to a new society.
We had never heard of “absorption centers” before so we did some research and discovered that they are “temporary, furnished living quarters located throughout Israel where new immigrants enjoy a supportive framework, tailored to their specific needs, free of charge.” Seems to us like a great idea that we, here in the United States, should consider.